More problems with monument company

Seven On Your Side
April 30, 2008 3:33:45 PM PDT
It was more than just a stone for the families. it was a memorial to their departed loved one. And when a Yonkers headstone company didn't deliver, Seven on your Side tracked them down, and not for the first time. A wooden marker is the only tribute at the grave of Luis Merrero.

The colon family saved up for months, paying Pelham Memorials more than $2,000 for a headstone. In return they got nothing.

"That's all we're asking for. It's only fair. We paid for it," said Sylvia Colon.

In the past Seven on your Side has visited Pelham Memorials. Twice to be exact.

Both times Pelham's owner, Harlan Kaufman came through with the promised headstones.

"It's my fault, i'm going to take care of it. i'm not running away," said Kaufman in the past.

But this time? Kaufman did run away as we found his office dark and out of business.

Tappy Phillips tracked him down at his home.

"He really stiffed us for $2180. He knew what he was doing and I am sure he's not even sorry about it," adds Colon.

A file file cabinet is filled with customers who paid Pelham, but got nothing. Jeffrey Cohen owns a different monument company and he's volunteered to help.

"Some people have screamed at me, wished the guy's death, want to kill him, you should hear the words that come out unbelievable," says Cohen.

Cohen's offering Pelham customers to finish their orders at cost.

Westchester County Consumer Affairs are investigating complaints about Pelham Memorials, and they have some advice for consumers.

You're much safer if you pay by credit card because if there's a problem you can dispute the charge. If you paid by cash or by check the money is out of your hands," said Gary Brown with the Westchester Dept. of Consumer Protection.

Fortunately some of the Pelham customers did pay, at least a portion of the charge with a credit card. In addition - check for complaints with the Attorney General and local Better Business Bureau before you hire a monument company.

As for Mr. Kaufman? He has a hearing scheduled with Westchester Consumer Protection, and they will try to get the rest of the money back for clients.